The Hidden Cost of the Job Hunt
We all know how taxing the job search can be. Not only is it draining emotionally, but there are monetary consequences to leaving a job and starting the search.
Here, we're breaking down the hidden costs of the job search from start to finish. Before we get started though, nipping money issues in the bud can only happen when you're prepared—so let's ask a couple of questions before diving into dollars.
- How long can you cover your necessities without additional income?
- What types of jobs (or companies) are you looking at? Are any of them outside of your current city?
- Why didn't your last position work out? (What are your takeaways?)
- When was the last time you updated your resume?
Keep referring back to this list as you move through your job hunt journey. It will help you set budgets and expectations during a time when unknowns feel all too prevalent. Now let's dive in!
Depending on what types of positions you're looking at, you might want to build up your hard skills. Taking classes can be exactly what you need in order to feel confident enough to apply for that dream gig. Before thinking about money for classes, think about how you learn best and go from there.
Do you learn best in-person? Look at community college courses or tech-specific schools. While this is traditionally the most expensive option, it's normally all in one lump sum and often provides a certificate of completion that you can tack onto your resume. If these courses are too cost-prohibitive, never fear! Sites like Meetup are great resources for learning new things on the cheap with folks who have a variety of skill levels. And bonus, it's a nice resource for networking with people in your industry.
Maybe you don't need that face-to-face feedback, and online learning seems more your speed. This is a much more cost-effective option and can be done on your own schedule. (If you're curious, we have a ton of job search specific classes!)
One word of warning: some e-learning sites sing the siren song of 'free trial'. This trial is intriguing but don't forget to keep an eye on the automatic payments that happen once that trial is done.
Your Paper Prep
A great first impression is key to landing a job you love. The best way to do this is with your cover letter and resume. If you are confident in how you advertise yourself, no need to spend money. Think about searching for free resources that will give yourself that extra edge. Go after resources that boost your resume's design, formatting, and heighten vocabulary.
If promoting yourself feels a little (or a lot) awkward, you have two options. Take a course that includes templates you can plug your resume into, as well as resume reviews and advice. This is a great way to build structure into this all-important document. You can also have a pro review your resume. This can be a fairly quick—and affordable—process that lets you get feedback from an objective third party.
Your Online Prep
It is inevitable that your online presence will be looked at during the job hunt. Make sure your personal profiles are up to snuff. While this takes time, it's totally free! In addition to a potential Insta-purge, don't forget to dive into your LinkedIn. If your profile is optimized, there is no need to spend money on LinkedIn Premium.
Depending on the industry you're looking at though, you might need to beef up your online presence even further. For this, consider creating a professional website. This is a perfect way to display your portfolio, highlight writing samples, and in general, make you shine. Normally this means a reoccurring monthly fee for as long as you want your site public.
Your In-Person Prep
If you find yourself looking at positions outside of your city, you've got to keep travel costs in mind. Most companies are understanding, so always ask if they're willing to do a phone or Skype interview to start. Once you've passed the first few rounds though, they might expect to see you in person.
Like always, a little bit of research can go a long way in helping you save. Plan ahead for any plane or train trips; normally the farther in advance you look, the cheaper prices will be. Also, look at Airbnb for available rooms instead of full apartments, or use apps like HotelTonight to take advantage of hotels trying to fill out their rooms last-minute.
Once you're in front of your interviewer, there are a few other things to keep in mind. There is no single outfit that will land you a job, but there are plenty of outfits that can keep you from one. If you have the extra cash to spend on clothes that make you feel unstoppable, go for it! Otherwise, just make sure you are thoughtful about your choice of interview outfit (even in hot weather.)
While coaches are an asset during the job search, don't limit their usefulness. A career coach can also help build up hard and soft skills, provide mentorship or give out industry insight—so if you're feeling a little lost, this might point you in the right direction. When looking for a coach, check their pricing. You can often find coaches who only charge per meeting.
Not all networking events are created equally. Don't be fooled by events that charge an exorbitant fee in the hopes it will land you a job. Often, you're paying for the local and swag bag. Instead, do your research on the schedule of events and people speaking. Events with round tables and break-outs can help create meaningful connections, and job fairs will provide insight into what employers are looking for.
Job Search Sites
There are hundreds of job boards you can use to see what opportunities are out there. While we think it's more than possible to find job listings without paying a dime, paid job search sites exist as an additional resource. If you are set on using a paid site, make sure the benefits outweigh the cost. Look at the quality of job listings they offer, if there's any added support (like resume review or industry-specific insight), and what their current clients are saying (reviews can sometimes save the day.)
Don't Forget To:
Keep an Eye on Automatic Withdrawals
With how easy automation is, it's never been easier to spend. This is often fantastic! You never have to think about utilities or credit payments, but the same goes for things like gym memberships, box subscriptions, and streaming services. So keep an eye on your accounts, and slash anything that isn't serving you.
Parenting while job searching can bring up additional costs. Make sure to factor in potential childcare expenses just in case you have an in-person interview, skill-building class, or just need some quiet time for a networking Skype session.
Write Down EVERYTHING
Did you know you might be able to write off job search expenses on your taxes? Don't let this perk pass you by and remember to keep all of your receipts organized so you can potentially cash in!